“For the needy shall not always be forgotten…” (Psalm 9:18a)
As I read through the book of Proverbs, two scriptures caught my attention.
“The one who oppresses the poor insults his Creator, but whoever shows favor to the needy honors him” (Proverbs 14:31).
“The one who is gracious to the poor lends to the LORD, and the LORD will repay him for his good deed” (Proverbs 19:17). These scriptures got me intrigued, and I thought for a while, “the poor ought to be remembered”.
Anytime the word remembrance is mentioned, it gives an idea and a hint that something has been forgotten and needs to be brought back to memory and practice. In my opinion, remembering the poor is one of the most important things a Christian should think about apart from God and His work. In fact, the act of remembering the poor is in itself the work of God.
“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that need”. (Ephesians 4:28). No wonder the scriptures teach us to work so that we can give to the poor. Giving to the poor is the primary reason for work before every other. The poor ought to be remembered. I sometimes ponder over how we eat the best of meals and have the best of everything even in excess, yet very few people really remember and consider the poor. Statistics enumerates that one billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22, 000 children die each day due to poverty. 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat, while more than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. A personal experience I had with a team on a missionary engagement last two years in a village was heart-breaking and pathetic, where village folks drunk from the same stream with their livestock insinuating that they had no access to potable drinking water. It explains how deadly poverty can be and as such we must ensure in our individual capacity to contribute our quota to if not eradicate, to alleviate its effect on its victims.
The World Bank, International Organizations, Churches, Foundations and many Affluent individuals in the world have contributed immensely to the reduction of poverty significantly. Notwithstanding, there are still many individuals in societies living in abject and extreme poverty meaning there is still a lot of work to be done. Given the numerous reasons why most ladies go into prostitution, the root cause is undeniably poverty. Many individuals have become school dropouts and many have indulged in all sorts of vices because of poverty. A lot of these individuals carry great potentials and talents, yet subjected to poverty, hindering their impact and influence. Imagine the number of great, influential, gifted and skilled individuals the world would have had if these individuals were helped.
Many a times, many people accuse and attribute the poverty of others to the greediness of political leaders and those in authority, yet these same individuals have not in their small way contributed to helping any poor or needy in their sphere. This shows that they would have done likewise, having the opportunity to assume such positions. The act of remembering the poor and the needy should be seen as a personal concern and not to be left for those in authority. “Blessed is he who considers the poor”. (Psalm 41:1). The bible is clear with regards to making it a personal endeavor and responsibility and not only a corporate activity to help and consider the poor. The bible is emphatic and conspicuous; Blessed is “he”, not “them”. The Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated this act by giving humanity a portrait and a template of the extremum on considering the poor according to (2 Corinthians 8:9) ” For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake (humanity) he became poor, so that you (humanity) through his poverty might become rich”.
But I ask myself, do we really care?
Do we care about the street children who always approach our vehicles in traffic pleading melancholy for their daily bread?
Do we care about individuals we see each day who cannot afford a three square meal?
Do we care about individuals with tattered clothes and worn out shoes who attend church day in and out?
Do we care for and show interest in widows and orphans who are impoverished, whose daily livelihood is at the mercy of a Good Samaritan and occasionally benevolent NGOs and foundations?
Do we care about the destitute we see at night whose bedtime is left to the discretion of a storekeeper and the weather?
If we really care, what are we doing about it? The poor ought to be remembered. In Deuteronomy 15:1-11, God commanded the nation of Israel to remember the poor and needy among them and not to shun them. He instructed that they give to them sufficient for their need without a grudging heart. God vehemently warns and commands not to oppress the poor especially widows and orphans, for it’s an insult and dishonor to the most high. (Proverbs 14:31).
God told Israel not to harvest all the proceeds of their crops but leave some in the fields for the poor and needy as God’s plan of helping the poor. It is making provision for the poor and less privileged in our endeavors. In light of this, we are required by God to incorporate into our plans and yearly resolutions as a deliberate provision to cater and help the poor.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT REMEMBERING THE POOR.
- As part of the myriad outstanding virtues outlined in the book of Proverbs that characterizes a virtuous and good woman is one who opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hand to the needy. It adds to the unique virtues and commendable values of a good and virtuous woman. (Proverbs 31:2).
- Remembering the poor is the first of the signs and works of the coming upon of the anointing and spirit upon an individual. Anyone anointed by the Spirit has it as a personal ambition and interest to help the poor. “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor…”. (Isaiah 61:1).
- Remembering the poor is equivalent to amassing treasures in heaven. Giving and helping the poor guarantees our treasury in heaven from which we can be helped in the day of need. (Matthew 19:21).
- The voice and cry of the one who considers the poor will always be heard by God. God hastily responds to their plea and prayer always in the day of trouble. (Proverbs 21:13).
- The one who gives to the poor lends to God and He will repay in abundance, because to Him belongs gold and silver. (Proverbs 19:17).
- He that considers the poor shall be delivered in the day of trouble. His life is insured against the day of trouble. (Psalm 41:1).
- He shall be preserved, protected and kept alive. He is immune to death against the set time. (Psalm 41:2a).
- He will be called blessed in the land. In other words, his blessings will be so much that it will be impossible not to be known in the land where he dwells. His blessings will be known to all and won’t be hidden. (Psalms 41:2b).
- He won’t be handed over to the desires of his enemies. (Psalms 41:2c).
- The LORD will sustain him on his sick bed and restore him from his bed of illness. (Psalms 41:3).
It is of a worthy course to have it as a personal responsibility to remember the poor and needy in the society, nation and the world. This will make the world a better and happy place for everyone to live. The heart of God deeply goes out for those who engage in this endeavour and has it as an interest to consider the poor.